“A Former Engine of the G.O.P., the Town Hall Meeting, Cools Down”: I’ve been waiting for the MSM to go to a few town halls and declare that the ol’ GOP anti-amnesty fervor just isn’t there. When I saw this NYT hed, I assumed what followed would be that story. It’s not. The Times‘ fabled liberal hed writers are on message, but Jeremy Peters’ piece doesn’t show town halls have ‘cooled down.’ It shows town halls are still sufficiently heated that “terrified” Congressmen aren’t holding them any more-or they’re holding them via phone, or they’re only announcing them at the last minute so nobody will show up.
But maybe it doesn’t matter that much, for 2013 amnesty purposes, if a Congressman ducks holding a town hall. There are other ways of getting the message. An email from Bill Bradley of New West Notes helps put things in perspective:
.. Let’s see, Rubio champions the bipartisan bill and craters in Iowa and elsewhere as a Republican presidential prospect.
Cruz opposes amnesty and starts roaring up the road in Iowa. (Though that’s only one issue for his appeal.)
Will Republican congressmen from gerrymandered districts see the connection??
Did they get to be Congressmen by ignoring the obvious? ….
Update–Silence still = Amnesty! I’m not saying Rubio’s poll collapse means people don’t need to speak up over the recess against the Dem/Gang of 8 “legalization first” approach. It remains true that without pushback from actual voters, Republican representatives will listen to funders/businessmen/party leaders and cave on the issue. (Here’s the latest evidence of that.) What Bradley points out is that the GOP presidential primaries may be handling some of the pushback work. That, in itself, is unlikely to be enough. Many Congressmen may believe their local electorate is more snookerable than the GOP presidential primary electorate. They may feel they have other advantages–including other issues–that, say, Rubio doesn’t have. And their donors–the people they will rely on if they have grander ambitions–will be constantly pressuring them to give in. If ‘that’s not met by pressure the other way, they will.
Intensity matters. It’s one thing to tell a pollster you are souring on Rubio for President. It’s another to be pissed off enough that you might, just might, help organize a primary challenge to a backsliding neo-comprehensivist Congressman.
If your Congressman is avoiding traditional town halls (list here), you can still make your presence felt through phone calls to his local office, or faxes, or petitions, or actual letters (which, I’m told, still get disproportionate respect). …